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Sep. 9, 2021 | Navy Pier fireworks display on Sept. 18 pays tribute to the philanthropic, individual, foundation and corporate donors who support the Pier

Navy Pier Celebrates Successful Fundraising Efforts With Final Summer Fireworks Show Dedicated to Employees and Generous Donor Community Who Made Reopening Possible

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Navy Pier, Chicago’s iconic lakefront destination and nonprofit cultural institution, will dedicate its final summer fireworks show on Saturday, September 18 to the 3,000+ people who work at the Pier, along with the generous donors who made Navy Pier’s reopening possible by supporting the Pier’s fundraising campaign.

This summer, Navy Pier marked its 10-year milestone as a nonprofit institution which celebrates and showcases the vitality of Chicago year-round. As a nonprofit, Navy Pier relies heavily on philanthropic contributions to advance its mission of a world-class public space that is truly the “People’s Pier.”  Thanks to the generous support from philanthropic, individual, foundation and corporate donors, the Pier raised $9.1 million, enabling it to fully reopen earlier this year and preserve its future. Navy Pier’s fundraising campaign was necessary due to the devastating impacts of COVID-19 when the Pier temporarily closed, halting all earned revenue and creating a $20 million budget deficit in 2020.

This critical campaign enabled Navy Pier to fully reopen and support its nearly 70 on-site independent, local businesses that collectively create more than 3,000 jobs. The success of the fundraising campaign also ensures Navy Pier can continue to provide free year-round public programs, featuring local artists from across Chicago, and engage with the community in new and exciting ways as a nonprofit institution, reinforcing its philanthropic motto, “Here For Good.”

“Like so many of Chicago’s nonprofit and cultural institutions, Navy Pier navigated unprecedented challenges in the face of the pandemic,” said Marilynn Gardner, President & CEO of Navy Pier. “We are endlessly grateful to our dedicated donors, who have been committed to supporting our nonprofit mission and have helped bring the Pier back to life. Through their donations, Navy Pier continues to serve as a vital resource for the community, create jobs to support Chicagoans, and provide arts and cultural programming for our millions of neighbors, friends and guests.”

“To ensure the success of this fundraising effort, Navy Pier engaged new donors and received 100 percent participation from our Board of Directors. Everyone contributed to this effort,” said Bill Brodsky, Chairman of the Navy Pier Board of Directors. “These significant donations created a much-needed rent relief program for our tenant partners, providing them the resources they needed to restart their businesses, and allowed Navy Pier to once again offer our engaging free cultural and community programming at a time when our neighbors needed it most. This effort was critical for our community and further emphasized Navy Pier’s culture of philanthropy and giving back to support Chicagoans.”

To mark its 10-year milestone as an invaluable nonprofit cultural institution, Navy Pier is launching a new Faces of the Pier blog series to pay tribute to the Pier’s business owners, employees, local artists and nonprofit partners, who have helped the Pier’s reopening and make it a welcoming destination for all. Faces of the Pier will feature personal stories to showcase how Navy Pier has made a positive impact in the lives of many and what the Pier means to them. Click here to view the Faces of the Pier blog posts.

Guests are encouraged to continue supporting Navy Pier by taking advantage of the many Pier-wide experiences available along Chicago’s lakefront, such as the iconic Centennial Wheel, the new Drop Tower ride and other attractions, dining establishments, retail shops, boat cruises and more. Guests can now also extend their visit with an overnight stay at the new Sable hotel. Visit the Navy Pier website for a full list of open and available establishments.

Navy Pier is operating in accordance with the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) as well as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with updated guidelines recommending that everyone over 2 years of age wear masks in public settings, regardless of vaccination status. Click here to view Navy Pier’s COVID-19 operations and updates. Click here to view Navy Pier’s COVID-19 operations and updates.


About Navy Pier

Navy Pier is the People’s Pier, Chicago’s lakefront treasure, welcoming all and offering dynamic and eclectic experiences through partnerships and programs that inspire discovery and wonder.

Since its reopening in 1995, more than 180 million guests have come to enjoy the Pier’s 50 acres of unparalleled attractions and experiences. In 2022, Navy Pier continues to evolve into an accessible, year-round centerpiece for Chicago’s diverse arts and cultural treasures.


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